ADI Standards Check Grade & Examiner Confusion

adi-standards-checkThe ADI Standards Check was introduced on 7th April 2014.  But 6 months later, it seems some DVSA examiners are still giving out incorrect information with regards to duration between Standards Checks.

Here is just one of many posts I have seen on social media, which suggests that examiners are themselves confused about the time between each ADI Standards Check (all personal details removed).



“How Long Will it be Until My Next ADI Standards Check?”

Admittedly, the information on the DVSA website is a little unclear…


This doesn’t give any specific information about how your grade will affect the time until your next ADI Standards Check.  But there is a clue in the wording, i.e. ‘at least’. Take a look at the DVSA ADI 1 document (point 10.06) and it explains how long ADI Standards Check reports should be stored for:

We were hearing of a huge number of ADIs being given conflicting information at the end of their ADI Standards Check about when they could expect their next appointment.  Some ADIs awarded with a Grade B were being told 2 years, some 3 years and others 4 years.

“So which is it? 2 years, 3 years or 4 years?!”

when-standards-checkConcerned with the conflicting messages from examiners, we sought clarification from John Sheridan (Assistant Chief Driving Examiner) who advised that the duration between ADI Standards Checks would be 2 years for those awarded a Grade B and 4 years for those who achieved an A. John Caradine (Local Driving Test Manager) later confirmed this in an email to me:

ADIs will be asked to attend for a Standards Check in line with the previous grade awarded.

This will be approximately every two years for a Grade B and every four years for a Grade A. This does ensure that every ADI will be seen at least once during their four year period of registration.

Standards Check reports are kept in line with these timeframes to ensure that there is a ‘live’ report for every ADI until they attend for their next Standards Check.

I expressed my concern to John Caradine that ADIs were not being given correct information, and that all examiners should be made aware of the correct timescales. Today, I received a reply from the DVSA Customer Operations Department:

I have spoken to John Caradine about your query; he has stated that every ADI will be seen at least once within their four year period of registration for a Standards Check, regardless of what grade they have achieved. The expectation is that ADI’s achieving a Grade B, particularly those with a lower score, will be seen more than once within this time frame; this is likely to be around the two year period.
John has asked for this message to be sent out nationally to ensure that all examiners conducting Standards Checks are giving out a consistent and accurate message.

Let’s hope this resolves the confusion with examiners once and for all.

“Does the time until our next ADI Standards Check really matter?”

Some ADIs would argue that it shouldn’t really matter when we are called for own next ADI Standards Check, as they should be delivering a first class learning experience to all of their pupils all of the time.  Nevertheless, many conscientious ADIs like to have peace of mind and time to fit in any personal development in time for their next Standards Check appointment.

Also, it is anticipated that the DVSA will announce a change to the fee structure for the ADI licence.  Rumours are surfacing (and we must stress that these are only rumours at the moment – nothing has been decided, as far as we are aware) that the DVSA are looking to reduce the cost of the ADI licence to £150 and introduce a separate fee for the Standards Check, purported to be £150.

So does your grade matter? You might consider it not to… but what if it ends up actually costing you more?

“Will that mean that ADIs will end up paying more?”

If these rumours become reality, then yes, some ADIs will inevitably end up paying more than they do at present.  In each four year registration period, ADIs achieving a Grade A will end up paying £150 for their ADI licence + £150 for their Standards Check.  However, those ADIs who achieve a Grade B will end up paying for 2 Standards Checks within the same time frame, hence £150 for their ADI licence + £300 for their two Standards Checks = £450.

“How can it be fair that Grade B instructors pay more?”

when-will-my-next-standards-check-beThe introduction of a separate fee for the Standards Check would be in line with the government’s ‘user pays’ principle. In essence, if an ADI requires two Standards Checks within the period of the 4 year ADI licence period, then the government expects this additional cost to be met by the end user, i.e. the ADI.

Although the above is only speculation at this stage, there is no smoke without fire. We personally think it is unlikely that the government will continue to allow those who require more of the DVSA’s resources to pay the same as those who use less.

Whether that is fair or not is open to debate!

Waiting for the backlash…

Many Grade B ADIs have incorrectly been told that they will be seen for their next ADI Standards Check in 4 years. There will inevitably be much confusion when they receive their appointment in 2 years’ time, plus a possible extra £150 payment request.

I hope this article helps to clarify the situation for those that have been incorrectly informed!

If you have been awarded a Grade B on your ADI Standards Check, when were you told your next appointment would be?

Do you agree with the proposal to introduce a separate fee for the ADI Standards Check?

Are you happy with potentially paying £150 extra in each 4 year registration period if you get a Grade B?

down arrowWe’d be interested to hear your thoughts and comments, so please post them in the comments below.

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  • Emma Johnson

    If I’ll have to pay per SC, I’m going to expect a better service than the current “You’ll turn up when and where we say so” fiasco. The DVSA might want to give consideration to improving the service they currently provide for Standards Checks.

    • Ged Wilmot

      Hi Emma, yes, I believe they are going to change the booking system at the same time. It will be a case of the DVSA giving you a set timeframe within which you need to book your next Standards Check, but it will be at a time and test centre to suit you. A bit like the current booking system for driving tests and PDI tests. I would welcome an online booking facility – I know how challenging it can sometimes be to find a suitable pupil for the DVSA’s specific Standards Check appointment times! 🙂

  • Martin Crane

    I had an SE in the back on my standards check. At the end I got my Grade B, and I was told I’d be seen again in about 2 years. At that point the SE butted in and told him he was wrong, and that everyone was given 4 years. So I would imagine, not only was I given wrong information, but that everyone subsequently seen by that examiner was also given the wrong information. :-/

    • Ged Wilmot

      It’s a crazy situation, Martin. This should have been one of the most important things to have been trained on whilst at Cardington! And the fact it is STILL going on beggars belief!

  • Andrew Miller

    “During April to June 2014, 2,609 standards tests were conducted” says the Q1 statistics report (the DVSA seem to have forgotten they are checks not tests). Multiply by 16 and we can expect 41,744 checks to be conducted over a 4 year period. There are 42,934 ADIs on the register, so that’s one each then. Rechecking the 13% that fail is an extra 5,581 checks. Rechecking the Grade Bs (53.5%) would need a further 22,970 checks which the DVSA simply doesn’t have the resources to do in my opinion. The policy is 2 years, the reality will likely be 4 years.

  • Martin ADI

    If they introduce an extra charge then they have lost any credibility about raising standards. It’s then just about raising money. It doesn’t COST £150 to put a DE with a clip board in the back of a car for less than an hour!
    So, you’ve marked me down by one point into grade B – so at £25 an hour that’s 6 hours work, gross not net. We all want to do a day and a half of extra work to pay for some idiot’s subjective opinion of our performance do we?
    How many checks will they carry out in one day? 4 or 5 at a min I should think. So that’s £750 for a day’s work. How much do they pay them? Who’s providing the car and fuel? Damn, it must be a bloody good clip board they use!!

    Ok, and as illustrated above, it will also significantly change the relationship and meaning of the test (not a check any more). So, now we really are into play acting, putting on a performance, getting an ‘easy’ client, rehearsing etc etc, to make damn sure we get all those boxes ticked. It’s supposed to be more flexible and less ‘one way’ but all I see is more boxes to be ticked. All I hear is ‘you must mention the dude in the back and seat belts; you must mention learning styles, you must mention risk, you must mention …. Etc. blah blah. Clients will do much less driving! If there’s £150 at risk of not ticking all the boxes then damn right It’ll be a performance.

    The DVSA must realise that you can do EITHER education OR enforcement – not both. If there’s a big penalty for being competent (B) then it’s not about standards it’s about avoiding being ‘fined’. Maybe if you fail the test, then yes, paying for another one may be justified at a sensible cost. But how is “you’re definitely ok to teach the public but it’s going to cost you dude!” at all fair?
    The user pays principle is bullshit since no one has requested extra tests every two years – they are being needlessly imposed, and the cost is entirely artificial. IF you wish to take another because you need to be a Grade A chicken for your work then great pay for another go to up your grade. Me, I’ll be happy with a high B.

    Final thought: the big assumption is and has always been that Grade 6 or Grade A does mean a better quality of instruction/instructor. Really? Where’s the proof? Grade 6 meant you did it the DSA’s way as per Part 3 style. Not necessarily the best way in the real world or for every client.

    Grade A just means you’ve develop a better quality of bullshit and waffle and ticked all the boxes. In real life clients don’t need to waffle about all this stuff on every lesson. Some don’t want to be engaged in waffle at all they “just want to learn to drive!” 😉

    Has it got more flexible? Or are there just more boxes to tick and hoops to jump through, now with the rumour of stiff financial penalties if you don’t. Will it raise standards or just annoy loads of merely competent instructors? DEs had better get better at their feedback and be ready to justify why they have just cost someone £150, and there will be lots more complaints. Will DEs sink to the level of parking wardens if they get to give out £150 fines for be good at our job, as opposed to very good?

    So, thanks for reading this far! And no, it’s not a good development!

  • Kirsty Guy

    I feel that is a way for the DVSA to create extra revenue. What do we actually pay the £300 for? I understand it covers the cost of printing our licence and current standards check. But seriously, if I pay for membership to something, I normally get a lot back I.e support, newsletters etc. I don’t currently feel that the DVSA as it stands offers much for the money we pay. Sorry.


    I certainly think if you get higher grade you should be seen less often but as to grade B paying more I’m against that I haven’t been called yet I got grade 5 in may 2013 always been grade 5 looking for grade A